Washington’s Still Billing Taxpayers for a Border Wall. So, Ernst Says, ‘Let’s Build It!’

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As President Biden’s historic Southern border crisis rages on thanks to his weak policies and refusal to secure the border, taxpayers might be interested to know they are footing the bill—to the tune of $3 million per day—for materials that were meant for a barrier at our Southern border after the president canceled the project. U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) has a novel idea for President Biden: let’s put the materials for the wall that American taxpayers are still paying for to use, and let’s build it!

Ernst is proposing a new measure—called the BUILD IT Act, or the Border’s Unused Idle and Lying Dormant Inventory Transfer Act—that would turn over the unused materials purchased to construct the Southern border barrier to any state wishing to finish the job.

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“We are witnessing a crisis of historic proportions at our Southern border under the Biden administration. President Biden’s refusal to take action at the border has been a disaster, but his decision to cancel border barrier projects that were already underway is literally costing taxpayers billions,” said Senator Joni Ernst. “Here’s a simple solution, Mr. President: let’s put these materials to use, let’s end the taxpayer-funded waste, let’s stop the unprecedented flow of illegal migrants, and let’s build it!”

Ernst’s BUILD IT Act has the support of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and is cosponsored by Senators Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), and Steve Daines (R-Mont.).

RJ Hauman, head of government relations and communications at FAIR, said: “You don’t have to live on or near the southern border to experience the fallout from the record-shattering Biden Border Crisis. Today, every state is a border state, including Iowa. Illegal immigration is afflicting the entire country, straining local resources while introducing public safety threats into American communities. Fortunately, several border state governors are desperate to end the crisis, and that is precisely what Senator Ernst is seeking to help them do. Now, she would be the first to acknowledge there is so much more that needs to be done, notably keeping Title 42 in place and reforming an asylum system that has enabled millions of migrants to make fraudulent claims in order to circumvent our laws. But as President Trump recognized, a barrier is a key component of a secure border, and the Build It Act delivers on that front. We applaud Senator Ernst for introducing this piece of legislation and urge all of her colleagues to cosponsor.”

Since President Biden’s order to cease construction of the Southern border barrier, the federal government began paying contractors over $3 million a day to look after unused border material, according to a report by the Minority Staff of the Government Operations and Border Management (GOBM) Subcommittee, a part of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs. Estimates of the value of the existing materials range, but roughly one quarter of a billion dollars is sitting on our Southern border.

Ernst’s BUILD IT Act would require the federal government to transfer any material associated with the construction of the Southern border barrier to any state, upon request, for the materials’ original purpose. Both Arizona and Texas have initiated state action to continue construction on their sections of the border wall.

Ernst awarded her May 2022 Squeal Award to President Biden “for creating a crisis at our border while wasting billions of taxpayer dollars” to not use materials that have already been paid for.

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